Round-of-32 Preview

Most of my NCAA predictions are already out there because of the tennisrecruiting.net article, but just so we all have something to talk about, I’m going to post a few predictions for the significant round of 32 matches that will be taking place tomorrow (and the CMS/Cruz final).

Amherst Region- nothing happening

Emory Region

#2 Emory vs. #20 Washington & Lee

I don’t really see any way the Generals can win this match. I would love to come up with a scenario that goes something like, “well, if they can sweep doubles and then White has the match of his life and then the rest of the Emory team gets super tight…” but give Washington & Lee’s doubles performance today that has zero chance of happening. Emory will probably sweep the doubles and pick up two quick singles victories for a 5-0 win.

#11 Whitman vs. #19 NCW

If this were March Madness, this would be the match everyone pegged as the “upset special.” It’s like a 5-12 matchup where everyone really knows the 12 is better than the five and then they give themselves a pat on the back for picking the “upset.” Don’t get me wrong, I think Whitman got completely shafted with this draw, but they aren’t as good as their ranking indicates. I wouldn’t be surprised if Whitman takes a 2-1 lead in doubles, but my guess is NCW takes a 2-1 lead with wins at 1 and 3. After that, NCW will take control of the match in the heart of the singles lineup. Whitman can win at 1 and 6, but the Bishops have to be favored at 2-5. I’ll take NCW in a 5-2 victory over Whitman with wins at 2, 4, and 5 (and a comfortable lead at 3).

Williams Regional-not much going on

Kenyon Regional

#21 Mary Washington vs. Kalamazoo

This match already happened once. I believe Mary Washington won 8-1 behind the strength of a doubles sweep. We know that things can get shaky for the Eagles if they don’t do well in doubles, but the Hornets have been horrible in doubles all year. I think they’ll sweep again, and I’ll take Mary Washington in a 5-0 victory, though Zoo will be close at the top 3 singles spots.

Claremont Regional

#5 CMS vs. #6 Cruz

I don’t know how everyone else feels, but this is the California regional final I was hoping for. After losing to Cruz in the regular season for the second year in a row, the Stags will be hungry to avenge the loss, but the Slugs have a history of playing well at the end of the year. The Slugs will have to play much better in doubles than they did against the Hens to win this match. They were lucky to get one doubles match against P-P, and they will need at least two to beat the Stags. With Lane and Erani playing lights out at #1 for the Stags, the only thing giving the Cruz hope is the fact that the freshmen are streaky and the CMS 3 team played horribly today. I think CMS will run away with #1 doubles, but Cruz will win at #2 with the freshmen still getting used to the big stage. #3 doubles should be a battle, but I actually like CMS’ chances there, so I’ll pick them to take a 2-1 lead.

After that, I think Nurenberg continues his remarkable season with a victory at #1. I think the #2 singles match will be closer than it was last time, but Lane should still win that one. I don’t see any way Halabi beats Erani. Larsen obviously played well today to beat Hudson so thoroughly, and I think he has a good chance to beat Marino, but I’m guessing Johnson clinches the match against Bettwy for CMS before he has a chance to finish. The Stanley/Cahill match should be a barnburner that could go either way. I’m surprised the Slugs don’t have Rosner in, but Stanley has quietly put together a good career, and it’s great that the senior got in the singles lineup. Anyways, I don’t think that match will finish, and I’ll revise my pick t a 5-2 Stags victory with #4 and 6 singles still on.

Bowdoin Regional

#8 Trinity (TX) vs. #22 Skidmore

This is just one of several interesting rematches the NCAA has set up for us this year. Obviously, the Thoroughbreds beat Trinity earlier this year, but that have done absolutely nothing since then. Trinity bounced back after the Skidmore loss with a nice victory over… well… Bowdoin, but haven’t really played a significant match since then. To me, the Skidmore loss was a lot like Trinity’s loss to Whitman last year. They had a long Spring Break, and they just didn’t really bring it for one match. The key for them in the last match was that they fell behind in doubles. We all know how rare that is, and I don’t think they’ll let it happen again. I think Trinity jumps out to a 2-1 lead with victories at 1 and 2 doubles. After that, I think they’ll win at 3, 4 and 5 singles to close out the victory. Trinity is favored at #1, but Loutsenko is capable of beating Frey. The #2 singles match between DelaFuente and Sherpa will be a battle, and Skidmore is probably favored at 6. Overall, I think Trinity will come away with a 5-3 victory with #2 singles still on court.

Middlebury Region-Nothing

Wash U Region

My body just physically rejected typing “Wash U region,” but I powered through, so I hope you’re all proud of me.

#26 Gustavus Adolphus vs. #30 Wisconsin-Whitewater

Here is another one of those interesting rematches I was talking about a second ago. Just like the last one, I’m going to pick the team that didn’t win the first one. I have a ton of respect for the Warhawks, and I know they will definitely bring it for this match on their home courts. This match will almost certainly be incredibly close. The reason I’m going with Gustavus is because it’s really difficult to beat an evenly-matches team twice in a row. Losing the first time usually gives the other team the extra motivation to pull out the match the second time around. I think that motivation will have an immediate impact in the doubles portion. The Golden Gusties fell behind 1-2 last time, but I think they’ll reverse the decision at #1 doubles to give themselves a 2-1 lead this time around. In singles, I expect Gustavus to run away with 5 and 6, with the rest of the matches being battles. I’ll take Bayliss and Osborne for W-W at 2 and 4, respectively, but I think Donkena will flip the script on Balkin to give GAC the clinching victory. That will give Gustavus the 5-3 win, and leave #3 singles in an unfinished 3-setter.

Those are just my predictions. Have at it.

  37 comments for “Round-of-32 Preview

  1. Anonymous
    May 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Emory wins 5-1

  2. Anonymous
    May 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    emory sweeps ncw in doubles

  3. Anonymous
    May 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    update on the NCW match??

  4. anonymous
    May 13, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Huge doubles performance by Bowdoin to get them up 2-1 in a couple nail-biters. All they need to do is bring their level of singles they’ve had lately and they’ll exorcise the Trinity demons.

    • Trinity fan
      May 13, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Big play by Bowdoin today. Even though Trinity saved a few match points at 1 dubs, I think Peña’s play was a little too out of control today as he played huge to beat Frey at 1 as well. Trinity showed a lot of fight today and even though they were slowly losing they kept each other up and in the fight. I think the win today for Bowdoin was more about them bringing it then Trinity faltering. Both teams showed a lot of resilience today but Bowdoin proved to be the better team today. Final score was 5-1 with wins at 1 and 3 dubs, 1, 3, and 4 singles.

      Good luck to Bowdoin at Nationals. I think they’ll give the studs up there a run for their money. Again well played by the Polar bears and best of luck.

  5. Guy
    May 13, 2012 at 4:26 am

    NC Wes could beat all the teams in the west except CMS. Look at scores. NCW beat Kenyon 5-4. Kenyon beat P-P 5-4 and 6-3. Kenyon beat Cruz 5-4. To say NCW couldn’t beat P-P and Cruz is a ridiculous statement. NCW drove 10 hours to play Kenyon and Case. For the West coast folks that is a tough trip and impossible to win that type of a match. They think the hour and a half trip to play Cal Lu is SOOOO Tough. Of course when you are used to playing all of your tough matches at home in your own time zone every year, traveling is tough.

    • Anonymous
      May 13, 2012 at 9:19 am

      I guess speculation like that is fun, but it makes whoever wrote it sound silly and simplistic. Lots of things CAN happen, and because team A beat team B, and team B beat team C, does not mean team A will beat team C. It’s also silly to talk about traveling and time zones as well. NCW is a great team. The traveling or lack of traveling isn’t really an issue for west teams and is not “SOOO Tough” It’s the reality of their schedule vs the reality of NCW’s schedule. By that reasoning, every single DIII match would have an asterisk next to it. A win is a win, a loss is a loss, and the rest is speculative BS.

  6. Pritz
    May 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    CMS looked tough today against Cruz…What impressed me was that every player on their team battled. The cumulative effect of that TEAM effort was a very satisfying victory which should have the Stags in a positive frame of my mind for their opener in the elite 8.

  7. W
    May 12, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Anonymous: Whitman struggled with Trinity, Ct. on the second match of a back to back in So. Cal. that they could have bagged because it was rained out the day before. They should get kudos for that, not criticism. Is everyone here so confident that NCW would not have also beaten Pomona, Cal Lu, Redlands, or Cruz if they had to fly across the country to play them? I’m not. They beat Kenyon and Case before two tough road losses.

    • anonymous
      May 12, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      They would beat Redlands no question because Redlands can’t win, maybe Cal Lu as well due to their shaky doubles but that would certainly be a fun one. Pomona and Cruz no. Pomona too good in doubles while Cruz is just plain better. Whitman had a good year and double header or not they should handle Trin Ct based on what they have shown this year. I think Whitman is a very good team that was certainly underrated coming into this season however they beat a Cruz team so early in the season that I think its ridiculous to keep drawing on that as justification. Whitman didn’t do anything wrong and I think they are deserving of a top 15 year end ranking but at the end of the day they weren’t as good as some made it out to be and proved the more majority opinion with this loss. Great season for them nonetheless and I wish them the best moving forward because I love teams that succeed through internal development versus crazy recruiting as they have done.

      • Anonymous
        May 12, 2012 at 6:18 pm

        Not sure who you are but by the sounds of things you are a west coaster who believes in pomona/cruz/etc. But as someone who has seen Cruz, NC Wesleyan, and Pomona play this year I think the matches would definitely come down to doubles. If NCW can win a doubles point they will win. End of story. The singles from NCW is really really impressive. I understand they lost to Hopkins after sweeping but s*** happens. Also 1 doubles for NCW is probably favored against all the Cali team mentioned. I would also favor 2-6 singles.

        • D
          May 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm

          I really feel that if NC Wesleyan can get up after doubles they have a shot at pulling the upset. If they get swept in doubs though they have no chance at beating emory. I’ve been around most of these guys the last few years and I know that the seniors really want to finally step up and beat emory. It would be great to see how ncwc would matchup with the other california teams if given a chance. Due to budget restrictions at ncwc they more than likely won’t be taking any trips to CA so the only way to find out would be in the ncaa tournament. Anyways, Williams and Amherst will walk into the elite 8 tomorrow. Looking forward to see what happens

        • anonymous
          May 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm

          I totally agree that NCW singles is very impressive, I was purely making my assumptions off of doubles strength and NCWs as well. NCW is a scary dangerous team no doubt but at the same time I think they would be down 2-1 at least against any of the big Cali schools(including Redlands) except probably Cal Lu. I’m not disputing NCWs singles strength by any means but also was pointing out that while Whitman had a good year I think its safe to put them a notch below what the rest of the West has right now. Quite honestly I think the biggest reason for that is completely out of their control in that they didn’t get as many battle tested moments as the rest of the teams did beating up on each other. Also to clarify, I wasn’t saying that NCW could not win against those teams but that I would not view them as the favorites.

          • Anonymous
            May 13, 2012 at 7:31 am

            i guess well just have to agree to disagree. Because as good as they are their season ends today.

  8. Jimmy
    May 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    NCW 5 Whitman 1

  9. W
    May 12, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Bummer, Whitman lost to a tough NCW team. NCW was much better than No. 19. They had two tough road losses to Hopkins and CMU, and in the latter they won four out of six singles. The CMU doubles sweep included a 9-8 squeaker at No. 3. Even though they lost, the match score showed that they had more talent than CMU. The 1-3 singles at Hopkins went three sets and the No. 4 was deep tiebreaker loss in the first set.

    Now, NCW gets screwed playing Emory. They might make Emory sweat, but clearly would have a good shot against Wash U., Kenyon and most teams in the country other than Emory, Amherst and CSM. Whitman should not drop too far and had a very good season. Good luck to all the remaining teams.

  10. CMSfan
    May 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    For a team that “knows how to win,” Cruz sure knew how to lose today!

    • Anonymous
      May 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Being a good competitor means knowing how to compliment an opponent, regardless of outcome. As a “fan” I would hope you would understand and not feel the need to take away from great CMS win by knocking on another great opponent. Great season by Cruz and by all of the other teams that lost in the first few rounds. Great season Whitman, Cal Lu, Redlands, PP, Tyler, etc.

      • CMSfan
        May 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm

        Absolutely. Hats off to Cruz. They are worthy opponents and it’s fun watching CMS play them every year for the right to represent California in the final 8. My comment was meant more a jab at a previous comment than a slight toward Cruz. Perhaps I should have said, “maybe CMS knows how to win after all.” The point is the same either way.

        • Pritz
          May 13, 2012 at 1:40 am

          Also agreed…I sensed that the Stags were out to prove something against Cruz, and they certainly did. CMS is a team ready to go to the final four if not further. This is a tough group who believes they can win it all…Certainly the quality of the match made be believe that both CMS and Cruz are top 8 schools. For those who were there, it was 4 hours of great tennis between two outstanding teams. I like the fact that CMS is feeling confident and again hats off to Cruz for a fine effort.

      • Pritz
        May 12, 2012 at 8:27 pm

        Agreed…what made the CMS win so impressive is that Cruz played a solid match. It just appeared that CMS wanted it a little more…3 doubles played 4 incredible points to close the breaker and Marino just willed his victory…Even the abandoned matches were tight and intense…As a spectator, I was thrilled to watch two fine well coached teams really go at it….And,yes,it was impressive to watch the Stags out tough the Slugs but Bravo to both teams. A very classy match.

        • Anonymous
          May 13, 2012 at 1:08 am

          I don’t know if CMS is a “different” team this year, but they are winning in many different ways. The 5-1 CMS-Cruz score misrepresents how close this match really was. Basically, Stags players fought to keep all singles matches on court while building on the team’s 2-1 doubles lead, which denied the Slugs any momentum they may have gotten from winning a singles point. No need for the Slugs to hang their heads, but Parker Larson must have nightmares about the Stags; he’s been on the wrong end of tough clinching-point matches versus the Stags in the West Regional final for three consecutive years. But it is not the end of the world – the Banana Slugs live to crawl another day.

  11. D
    May 12, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    NCWC 5-1 over Whitman

  12. d3tennis
    May 12, 2012 at 7:41 am

    Cruz beat PP today because they’re a program that knows how to win. It has become clear to me over the years that certain coaches and programs instill a winning attitude in their players and Cruz is one of those programs. That’s not to say PP is a losing program, they just aren’t quite there yet. Certain teams seem to always pull out the big matches and other teams seem to always lose the big matches. That’s why I’m interested to see what happens the next couple days. A person who believes in the theory I just presented would pick Midd over Hopkins and Trinity over Bowdoin, even if it seems like those two results may not happen on paper. PP plays gritty tennis and they had a great season, but when the going got tough, was there a real doubt that Cruz was going to find a way to win? This is because they always win big matches when they’re expected to win them. And no, Whitman was not a big match for Cruz.

    CMS, on the other hand, is not a winning program when they play a team as good as them. They have beaten Cruz in the regional final the past two years because they have been a far superior team. But CMS has proceeded to find a way to lose later in NCAAs. Today, CMS is still the better team, but this is the closest these two have been in ability since probably 2008. The past 3 years, one has always been superior to the other, and that’s why today is going to be intriguing.

    There are other schools that have traditions of winning and losing and I won’t get into specifics, but I will say that a big win can turn a program quickly. That’s why I’m on the lookout for the Midd-Hopkins and Bowdoin-Trinity showdowns. A team can reverse course on this winning and losing path quite quickly, but it’s a big hump to get over if everyone expects you to perform a certain way in the clutch.

    • W
      May 12, 2012 at 10:38 am

      Now I see, Cruz didn’t care about its first match against a ranked DIII opponent on the road with their new head coach. They were throwing Whitman a bone for their home crowd this time, though they did not hesitate to beat Whitman in prior years. They lost the match to motivate themselves for the rest of the season.

      Or, could it be that Cruz is good, but not great this year? Maybe Pomona overachieved last year and regressed toward the mean this year? Perhaps Cal Lu was great at two positions, decent at two positions, and vulnerable at two positions, but won a bunch of close matches at home. Perhaps Redlands is talented but a year away with all of those freshmen? Finally, is it possible that Whitman is in the ball park with these teams? They beat Pomona two years ago, Trinity last year, and Cruz this year. This year, they did not follow up a big win with some bad losses. Last year’s No 1 struggled in that role, but is thriving this year at 3. This year’s no. 2 is living up to the promise he showed as a freshman after a sophomore slump. La Cava struggled a bit at no. 2 last year, but has been better at no. 1 this year. The number 6 has been a rock for the team for four years. The number 5 is a no star junior who has simply gotten better every year. Lastly, one of their two talented freshmen has competed incredibly well at number 4.

      There seem to be a lot of gratuitous shots at Whitman, and supporting posts which are not mean spirited toward other teams don’t seem to make the cut to be posted on this blog ( which I enjoy and appreciate anyway – thank you for making the effort).. This year’s Whitman team was very solid and their results on the road proved it. The win over Cruz was no fluke. Larson is finally playing the way he was expected to, so Cruz probably would not lose 6-3 again to Whitman right now. Nonetheless, Cruz was beating Trninty, Wash U and the like without him, but lost decisively to Whitman.

      Whitman got hosed by the NCAA. This is Whitman’s finals week and they have to fly across the country to play a team that has already beaten Kenyon and Case Western. They typically drive 5 hours from Walla Walla just to get to SeaTac airport to start their flights. If you look at the logistics, Whitman’s wins over Mary Washington, Rhodes, and Kalamazoo in two days including two early morning matches on the east coast were very impressive for DIII college student athletes. Whitman is a very tough academic school, so the team has a very heavy burden in traveling so far and dealing with jet lag, and they have to do it again to face NCW during finals, No other team in the tournament was put at such a disadvantage for a first round match up. That said, winning easy matches is no great accomplishment, so Whitman has an opportunity to compete against a good opponent in an important match which, win or lose, is what it is all about. Beating NCW would be awesome, but a loss would not mar Whitman’s season.

      Whitman has the talent and toughness to beat NCW, but the deck has been stacked against them. They would have been better off in the west against any team other than CMS. This year Whitman moved up a level to be a legitimate second echelon team on par with Trinity, Pomona, Cal Lu, and even the hallowed Cruz. Whitman has been developing a winning program that should continue to be tough with the guys waiting in the wings and a couple more decent freshmen coming in to replace two very solid seniors at 3 and 6. They deserved better than they got at the NCAAs, and from the naysayers.

      • d3tennis
        May 12, 2012 at 11:23 am

        Two main things, first regarding the difference between “caring” and a “big match” and second relating to Whitman in general.

        You used interchangeably “caring” and a “big match.” For Cruz, the only real “big match” during the regular season is against CMS. Other than that, the only thing that’s truly important to them is the postseason. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about their other matches, they obviously do, but my comment was relating to program-defining wins and losses, meaning what you do in NCAAs. Now for Whitman, Cruz is pretty much the biggest match of the regular season. So that being said, Whitman gets up for Cruz, Cruz does not get up for Whitman. Cruz goes there, they care, and they want to win, but they don’t bring that same level of intensity that they brought against PP yesterday or CMS today, or even Indoors. Whitman obviously outplayed them that night, but no one is going to convince me that Whitman would beat Cruz in NCAAs if they played today with a lot on the line.

        In regards to the “Whitman bashing,” how can you not be skeptical? How can you expect people outside of the Whitman program to embrace them as a legitimate top 10 team this year? That’s not realistic given the results that we have. I don’t mean to take gratuitous shots at the program, I’m just not convinced that they are better than a Redlands or Carnegie, teams who finished between 15 and 20 this year. I think that’s where Whitman should be. Whitman is a difficult school that has finals this week. OK, but for the most part, every top D3 tennis school is a difficult school that has finals this week. My general response to everything you’ve said is that I agree Whitman is a top 20 team this year, but I don’t believe you have enough knowledge of other programs to have an unbiased and realistic assessment of where your team stands.

        And in other news for everyone else, Cruz just blew 4 match points at 3 doubles. This is now the 3rd year in a row they’ve blown match points.

        • d3tennis
          May 12, 2012 at 11:52 am

          Let me also add, and this is very important, the distance between #4 in the country and #19 in the country is smaller than ever. Teams are more difficult to assess and obviously a lot of programs have high ceilings and low floors. I believe Whitman is one of those teams. They have the potential to play fantastic matches, and that’s exactly what they did against Cruz. When they are on their game, they may very well be top 8, but if you take every team’s average day, in the long run if we could re-create this season over and over, I think they end up somewhere between 15 and 20.

          • W
            May 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm

            Just for clarification, NCW and Redlands finished their finals in April, and Cruz is in mid-quarter, which is an advantage over Pomona, a great academic college that just finished finals. Cruz had to travel evening their advantage out a bit, but they stayed in the same time zone.

            I agree with most of your second post. If whitman loses to NCW, they should be 15-20. If they win, they should be top 10. We’ll find out in a couple of hours.

          • anonymous
            May 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

            We can officially stop talking about Whitman. 5-1 loss to NCW. Sucks they got them first round but it really proved what we already knew. Great win over Cruz to open the year but I think thats more like how Mary Wash beat Cal Lu than an actual indication of where they are consistently, this is the same team that struggled with Trinity Ct afterall

    • Anonymous
      May 12, 2012 at 8:04 pm

      Let me see if I follow your logic. There are winning programs and losing programs. But there are also conditional winning programs–that is, programs that win against inferior teams. Losing teams can become winning teams with a big win. Is that a big win over a superior opponent? Or are winning programs only programs that win national championships? With all due respect–and I mean that–this is not lucid analysis. Please clarify your categories.

      • d3tennis
        May 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

        I could write a big analysis of exactly what I mean and cite specific examples, and I will do that if you ask, however this is explained by saying that every team has a reputation for either winning or losing their most important matches. I believe your statement of “winning programs win national championships” is accurate. When I go through my list of teams who I think are winning programs, there is a strong correlation between that list and that list of national champions.

        The point I was making in this specific case is that I expected Cruz to win vs. PP because they have a tradition of winning that sort of match. It’s like an intangible that can’t be explained. Some teams find a way to win and some teams find a way to lose. And yes, you can jump up to be a winning program by winning some big matches. There are golden opportunities for Hopkins and Bowdoin today, two teams that traditionally don’t win their biggest matches.

        And all of this being said, I would also argue that you have to keep strength of roster in perspective. I consider Cruz a winning program and CMS not a winning program, but I believe CMS beats them all the time because they are just flat out better. I refuse to acknowledge any team that can blow 7 match points in NCAAs 2 years in a row as a winning program. When CMS runs into a team that can come close to matching their talent in NCAAs, they don’t win.

        To further explain this point about keeping roster strength in perspective, take this year’s Wash U team. They obviously don’t have the talent that they’ve had in previous years so you can’t expect them to be top 5, yet when their backs were against the wall against both Case and Carnegie after a doubles sweep, they found a way to win. However, you can’t expect them to go beat Amherst in the quarters despite the fact that the Bears are a winning program because Amherst is just better.

        Step 1: Assess quality of teams
        Step 2: If you believe teams are very close in ability, check their history of winning and losing big matches

    • Pritz
      May 13, 2012 at 8:29 am

      Great analysis which is why I sense that the CMS victory over Cruz yesterday was potentially significant. I sensed this is a tough CMS team, a tipping point team ready to take it to the next level. They beat Cruz not because they were so much more talented but because they wanted it a litlle bit more. We will see if my feeling is correct when they get to Cary…again the CMS-CRUZ match was a beauty. Two great teams giving it their best…Both schools should be very proud about the way they competed.

  13. chris
    May 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Looking for a CRUZ upset tomorrow! Do you think CMS deserved to host regionals? Either way, it is gonna be a hell of a match. Thanks for running the site this season! GO SLUGS

  14. Joey Brackets
    May 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    Just an observation, it looks like Balkin didn’t play for Whitewater in their 1st round win vs. Concordia (Wi.). Can’t see Whitewater getting the victory without him in the lineup.

    • anonymous
      May 16, 2012 at 9:59 am

      He was very ill the day before tournament. Although he played I doubt he was full strength

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